Round 12 Feature Match:

Posted in Event Coverage on March 28, 2004

By Kevin O'Connor

Both players are on 9-2, and a loss puts either out of contention for the top eight, so this is a critical match for both. Richard Moore is an upcoming English player who is starting to find success on the tournament scene after starting out a judge. Richard still holds amateur status so is set to make a fair sum no matter what happens. Armin has been here before, having made the top eight of GP Prague last season.

Game 1

Richard wins the coin-flip, but then took a succession of mulligans all the way down to four! Armin kept his seven.

Richard managed two Swamps on his first two turns, but nothing on the third. Meanwhile Armin had a turn two Tel-Jilad Chosen and a turn three Viridian Joiner. Richard mustered a turn three Disciple of the Vault which traded for Armin's Chosen, and Armin upgraded to a Tel-Jilad Outrider. Richard found a third land in the form of a Forest, and plays Darksteel Ingot. Armin's attack took him down to 15, and Armin made a Somber Hoverguard.

Richard made Glissa Sunseeker, there's hope yet for the Englishman! Hoverguard took him down to 12, and Armin made a Darksteel Ingot of his own and a Vedalken Engineer. Richard made a Vulshok Battlegear but still had no answer to the Hoveguard as he fell to 9 and Armin backed it up with a Neurok Prodigy. Richard could find no answer to Armin's flying monsters and quickly succumbed.

Richard Moore 0 - Armin Birner 1

Game 2

Richard kept his opening hand this time, as did Armin. Armin kept a one-land, Silver Myr, Vedalken Engineer, Darksteel Ingot draw, but topped a land on his first turn and was all set for action. Richard made an Arcbound Stinger, a Darksteel Pendant, and a Neurok Hoversail, and then a Pewter Golem on his next turn. Armin meanwhile had found his third land and has all his accelerators in play, as well as having managed to pull out a Spire Golem and a Sun Droplet.

Armin took four from the Richard's Golem, and Armin added counters to his Sun Droplet. Richard Moore whipped out a tricky customer in the form of a Fangren Firstborn - Armin was less than pleased! He made himself a Malachite Golem and passed back.

Richard equipped a Hoversail to his Firstborn and attacked with all his creatures, adding counters. Armin's Spire Golem blocked the now 2/2 Arcbound Stinger, but Richard had Echoing Courage to boost the stinger up to 4/4 and take down the Golem! Armin fell to 11, but gained another 1 in his upkeep to 12.

Armin played and equipped Mask of Memory to his Malachite Golem and swung in for 5, dropping Richard to 15 and drawing two cards. After some deliberation he discarded a Talisman of Unity, played out a Viridian Joiner and passed the turn.

Richard drew and did some maths. He asked Armin how many cards he had in hand. "Two." came the response - the same as Richard. Richard attacked with all his creatures and Armin chumped the Pewter Golem with the Viridian Joiner. Armin dropped to 4 from the attack, Richard played some Grimclaw Bats, and it was Armin's turn again.

Armin was in serious trouble now. His Sun Droplet was absolutely overloaded with counters, but wasn't getting them off fast enough, while Richard's creatures were only getting bigger! Armin attacked with his Malachite Golem and Richard chumped with the bats, forcing Armin to pay 1G to give the Golem trample. Armin tapped out for a Wand of the Elements, and Richard showed him a Vulshok Battlegear to clinch the game.

Richard Moore 1 - Armin Birner 1

Game 3

Armin elected to play first. Both players kept their hands, and Richard had the first non-land play with a Chromatic Sphere. He made an Iron Myr on turn two, while Armin made a turn three Viridian Joiner. Richard had three Forests to go with his Myr, but played out only a lowly Arcbound Stinger, electing to keep his Sphere in play for now.

Armin played land number four and considered his options. He went with a Tel-Jilad Exile off his three Forests and the Joiner, leaving his one Island untapped. Richard attacked for one and made a swamp, then cycled his sphere for green and changed whatever his plan was beforehand as he played a Tangle Golem off the top!

Armin seemed less than happy with the way the game was heading. He thought for some time before tapping out for an Arcbound Bruiser, and passed the turn. Meanwhile Richard found another black source in the form of Vault of Whispers, and attacked for six between his Golem and Stinger. Down came a Pewter Golem, although Richard was short the mana to regenerate, and it was Armin's turn again.

Armin played and cycled a Chromatic Sphere for blue mana, then found his second Island off the top anyway. He only had a Vedalken Engineer to play though, and attacked Richard down to 17 with his Arcbound Bruiser.

Richard declared his attack, and not to be dissuaded by Armin's regenerating troll blocker, sent in both Golems and his Stinger. Armin blocked the Pewter Golem with his Troll and both players regenerated. Richard aggressively played a Pulse of the Tangle for a single 3/3 creature, and the Pulse went straight to the graveyard. Armin then finally played a green rare of his own - Molder Slug! Richard untapped and sacrificed his Iron Myr, perhaps now regretting burning the Pulse for a single 3/3! Both Golems and the Stinger went in, although the 3/3 Beast Token stayed at home. Armin blocked the Golems with his Joiner and Exile and Richard regenerated, both Armin's creatures going to the bin.

Armin then played a Nuisance Engine to combo with his Molder Slug!! Things were starting to look dodgy for Richard, and Armin attacked him down to 13 with the Slug. Richard sacrificed his Vault of Whispers and drew. "Where are you Glissa??" he cried, but she was no-where to be seen. Still, Armin was dangerously low on life. Richard sent in all his creatures, and played Echoing Decay when Armin made a Pest Token before blockers.

Armin's Arcbound Bruiser eventually chump blocked Richard's Tangle Golem, and Richard expended his last card - Echoing Truth - to return Richard's Pewter Golem before blockers. Richard was down to one card but Armin was completely out, and down to seven life.

Armin made a Pest during his upkeep and sacrificed his Nuisance Engine to the Molder Slug. He had no plays on his turn. Richard untapped and floated black mana, then sacrificed his Darksteel Ingot before drawing and placed a regeneration shield on the Pewter Golem in his draw step. He attacked, and Armin blocked the Pewter Golem with a Pest, while his Slug took out Richard's Tangle Golem. Armin was down to three. Richard played out a Nim Lasher and passed.

Armin untapped with naught but a Slug remaining, signed deeply after drawing his card, and slumped back in his chair, shaking his head. Armin played and equipped Mask of Memory to his Slug, and when Richard chumped the attack with his Nim, Armin scooped up his cards.

Richard Moore 2 - Armin Birner 1

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